5 tips for creating an outdoor office

It’s no secret the pandemic has reinforced the importance of outdoor spaces, but what does that mean for the office this summer?

If you’re unsure whether an outdoor work space is worth it, check out these science-backed benefits of working outside:

  • Spending even just 20 minutes in the open air provides energy equal to a cup of coffee;
  • Cortisol levels are lowered by 12% and relaxation state increases by 55%;
  • Staring at green scenery can improve concentration by 8%; and
  • Being outdoors can lower early mortality risk by 12%.

Below are tips below for making the most of your outdoor spaces so you can reap the many benefits of working in the fresh air.

1. Don’t skimp on comfort: It’s important to select a chair that is both supportive and comfortable. Look for an outdoor dining chair with a higher contoured back and don’t forget to add a seat cushion. Consider a “breathable” seat like open-air metal or woven back chair; this will help keep you cool when the weather gets hot.

2. Be mindful of work surface height and work style: The best work surface is one that’s the same height as your desk, such as a small outdoor dining table. If you need more space to spread out, a dining table is your go-to; added bonus, it can also serve as meeting space and dining space for guests, employees, and family members alike. But don’t forget to keep your options open, as monotony can actually give rise to errors and decrease productivity and happiness level. Consider switching up your workspace and moving throughout the day; use an outdoor bar top table as a standing desk or pull up an outdoor-rated C table as a laptop table.

3. Get organized and stay hydrated: Not only do we need to make sure we are standing and moving throughout our day, but staying organized is the key to a productive workday. An outdoor bar cart can provide additional surface space for a printer, miscellaneous desk drawer items, and a spot for your favorite beverage and snacks — reminding you to stay hydrated. Plus, when work is over, a bar cart makes winding down from a long day a little sweeter with a cocktail.

4. Create shade: Sun protection and screen glare protection are paramount. Ensure you have a terrific umbrella and one that can tilt so you can reposition it as the sun moves throughout the day. Not only will an umbrella keep you cool, but it will also protect your eyes and skin.

5. Create a special “Zoom” space: Say goodbye to faux Zoom backgrounds and create your own outdoor oasis backdrop. Give yourself permission to have a “conference room” — aka lounge spot — for Zoom calls. A Zoom lounge space allows you to not only get away from your desk, but to relax and focus — and perhaps even not multitask while on a call.

Elise Nicpon is outside sales manager for Room & Board Business Interiors, and she brings more than 20 years of retail and direct sales experience to this position.

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